Optimal Decision Making for Aircraft Maintenance Planning: From Maintenance Check Scheduling to Maintenance Task Allocation

Q. Deng

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

199 Downloads (Pure)


Aircraft maintenance is the process of overhaul, repair, inspection, or modification of an aircraft or aircraft systems, components, and structures, to keep these in an airworthy condition. Airlines must perform regular maintenance on their fleet to keep their aircraft airworthy and, ultimately, prevent any systems or components failures during commercial operations. Coupled with the rapid growth of the global commercial aircraft fleet, aircraft maintenance demands have increased significantly in the past few decades. Since aviation is a very competitive industry, the growing aircraft maintenance demands and associated operation costs put a huge financial burden on airlines, forcing them to reduce costs while still respecting safety regulations. Therefore, airlines are laying increasing emphasis on planning aircraft maintenance efficiently. An efficient planning approach for aircraft maintenance is a dual-edged sword. It reduces not only the time and effort of organizing maintenance tasks and coordinating maintenance activities but also increases the time fleet availability for operations and associated revenues. Before introducing wide-body aircraft in the 1970s, airlines used a bottom-up, task-oriented approach to plan aircraft maintenance, as then the commercial fleet sizeswere small. Nowadays, most airlines adopt a top-down approach, and first groups the maintenance tasks with the same or similar inspection intervals into a large task block. These, in turn, are commonly divided into four types and labeled as: A-check (every 4–6 months), B-check (every 4–6 months), C-check (every 18–24 months), and Dcheck (every 6–10 years). After planning the letter checks, airlines further determine the maintenance tasks to be added or removed in each letter check. This dissertation innovates the aircraft maintenance planning (AMP) process by presenting a comprehensive digital solution. It replaces the current sequential computeraided manual approachwith an integrated scheduling methodology to automate the aircraft maintenance planning process. Given a specific time horizon, it considers all check types together when making the maintenance check decisions and generates the optimal schedules for all letter checks in one comprehensive solution. After that, it plans a long-term (3–5 years) task execution plan based on the optimal maintenance check schedule. These features are integrated into a decision supp
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Mulder, M., Supervisor
  • Santos, B.F., Advisor
Award date19 Apr 2021
Electronic ISBNs978-94-6366-398-4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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